South Africa hit wil debrisfromDelta rocket

Date: Tue May 02 2000 - 12:19:49 PDT

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    From AOL NEWS:
    Metal Balls Fall on South Africa
    .c The Associated Press
    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - For a while, it seemed as if some strange 
    meteorological phenomenon was hitting South Africa. 
    A metal ball fell from the sky Thursday onto a farm near Worcester, 45 miles 
    east of Cape Town, leaving an 8-inch dent in the ground. On Friday, another 
    ball a yard wide plummeted from the sky onto a farm in Durbanville, just 
    outside Cape Town. 
    ``We heard the sound of crackling thunder, yet there were no clouds,'' said 
    Philip Schew, a tenant farmer near Worcester. 
    NASA scientists said the balls were garbage from a Delta rocket launched in 
    1996. The balls had been expected to land somewhere in southern Africa. 
    Nick Johnson, who is in charge of orbital debris for NASA, said space garbage 
    re-enters the Earth's atmosphere almost every day, landing mostly in the 
    ``Although no one had been hurt by these objects in the last 40 years, the 
    U.S. government would compensate anyone who is struck by the objects,'' 
    Johnson was quoted as telling South Africa's 702 radio station. 
    AP-NY-05-02-00 1318EDT
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